Monday, June 13, 2011

Sushi Nishi-ya

Sushi Nishi-ya
1712 Victory Blvd. 
GlendaleCA 90201
(818) 244-2933

I know it's been a while since my last post, so I figure I should WOW you in some way. If you love sushi, I guarantee Sushi Nishi-ya will blow your freaking mind. This place has some of the freshest sushi I have ever eaten in my life.

After walking away feeling excited about what I had eaten for lunch @ Sushi Nishi-ya,  I vowed to come back to try their Omakase (chef''s choice) meal. I raved about it for weeks to my husband and tonight we finally got the opportunity to eat dinner there. I can't tell you how happy I was when I called and the found out that they had two seats available at the sushi bar.

Sushi Nishi-ya is located in a little strip mall. It's literally a hole in the wall with about five or six tables and a small sushi bar that seats 10 people. It's tiny, so it easily gets full through out the night. When you walk in you are greeted by Kenji-san behind the sushi bar and his wife (I didn't catch her name). They are a two man team and they do a pretty good job keeping everyone happy during their dining experience. Kenji-san's wife always greets you with a smile followed by, "Hello...we don't serve California rolls or teriyaki". I think it's hilarious considering I have been here a few times for lunch and she has never failed to greet me the same way. ha ha. I don't take any offense to this. I think it's kind of cute. I usually sit at one of the tables during lunch because it's the only place you can order a la carte, but tonight I got to sit at the sushi bar. It is definitely the best seat in the house because you get to watch Kenji-san skillfully craft these amazing dishes. All he asks in the beginning is if there is anything you are allergic to or don't like, and he pretty much takes it from there. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride. It's going to be an unforgettable one. 

Here we go:

I absolutely love fresh wasabi. There is no substitution for it. 
1st course: Blue Fin Tuna- Boston (served with daikon sprouts and kelp drizzled with peanut sauce)
2nd course: Yellowtail Belly & Back- Osaka, Japan
3rd course: Red Snapper - Kyushu, Japan
4th course: Smoked Salmon with kelp - Scottland & Fresh Salmon with kelp- Norway
5th course: Salmon Roe- Canada

This is hands down the best ikura I've ever had in my life. 
6th course: Scallop - Hokkaido, Japan
7th course: Spanish Mackerel - Kyushu, Japan

Is this really mackerel? It seriously didn't taste fishy at all. Absolutely delicious.
8th course: Blue crab hand roll- Maryland
9th course: Sweet Shrimp- Canada
Amaebi is one of my all time favorites and this one did not disappoint.
10th course: Sea Urchin- Santa Barbara

I've never seen my husband smile so much. Kenji-san just kept piling on the uni.  It was  very exciting.
11th course: Albacore - Cabo San Lucas
12th course: White Sea Bass
13th course: Halibut
14th course: Eel- Korea
15th course: Hama Hama Oyster - Seattle
I seriously wanted to continue eating, but I knew that it was not humanly possible for me to do so. After the oyster, I threw in the towel and told Kenji-san that we were done. We left there completely satisfied. If it wasn't for the price tag, I would eat  dinner  here at least once a week. One things for sure, I'll definitely be saving this place for a special occasion because I know that I will never be disappointed. If you have some money to burn, and you love sushi, this place is a must try. 

This is the sign posted outside. ha ha. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My favorite PANCAKES!!

Du-Par's Restaurant & Bakery
6333 W 3rd St
Los AngelesCA 90036
(323) 933-8446

There are several Du-Par'a Restaurant & Bakery locations, but I love going to this particular one because there is so much to see/do at the Farmer's Market &The Grove next door. When ever I go to Du-Pars, I make sure to order a short stack of pancakes. These buttermilk pancakes are as simple as it gets. They are very well the best  plain pancakes I have ever had. They already come soaked in melted butter, yet they are not soggy one bit. The outside is crispy but it's also very fluffy in the inside. Some people complain that these pancakes are too expensive, but in my opinion, if something is good (and oh is this gooood), why not pay a little extra for it?

If you don't like plain pancakes, spread some boysenberry on top and add some syrup and you're in for a treat.


7450 Beverly Blvd

Los AngelesCA 90036

(323) 930-9744

BLD has the best Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes. Good lord...these are babies are heavenly. The portions are huge though. An order comes with 4 pancakes, so I always make sure to split it with someone. The servers are always kind enough to plate them separately, too. One bite and you'll be sold. I know I was

There is definitely enough blueberries to go around. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


9646 S Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly HillsCA 90210
(310) 205-8990

Whenever I want a solid meal, I make a reservation at Crustaceans. It has been my "go to" restaurant for special occasions for quite some time, and this month my family and I went to celebrate my sister's birthday. It was a great dinner experience because it was the first time for a few people in our party to ever eat there. I love watching people eat something that I absolutely LOVE for their very first time. 

Crustaceans has an array of wonderful dishes; however, I only go there for two things: Dungeness Cracked Crab & their Famous Garlic Noodles. Okay, I also order a side of rice and extra sauce (same sauce crab is smothered in) to mix in with my rice. 

Seven people in our party of ten ordered the crab, noodles, rice, and extra sauce. We were all pretty excited about what was to come. We were even given bibs to wear because as you know, eating crab requires full interaction and is quite messy. This is a "roll up your sleeves and tie your hair in a ponytail" kind of deal. 

When the food arrived at our table you could tell that everyone was happy. I've never been in a table with so many people oohing and aahing at the same time. The only conversation for the first 20 minutes or so were brief mentions of how good everything was. It was hilarious. 

Anyhow, here are a few pictures of the food before it got devoured. 

Roasted Crab – Cracked Whole Roasted Dungeness Crab, AN’s garlic sauce and secret spices
Another picture of the crab
You pay a little extra to have it cracked, but it's totally worth it because the secret spices gets into every nook n' cranny possible and the end result is something you will definitely be craving for days to come.
AN’s Famous Garlic Noodles
I really wish that the An Family would release their secret recipe so that I could make these dishes at home. I remember coming across a blog where someone used their taste buds to guide them to cracking the secret recipe. I have yet to try this recipe , so I'm not too sure if it is on point. I will definitely be trying it out this summer. Stay tuned.....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

FAGE (Greek Yogurt)

Good Morning Everyone!! 

For the past 3+ weeks, I've been eating greek yogurt for breakfast every single day. I have never eaten something for that long without getting sick of it, but this yogurt is way better than the rest. First off...FAGE is all natural and packed with flavor. Second of all, I love love love the consistency. Greek yogurt  is a little thicker and creamier than your standard yogurt. Do I really need another reason? Nope.  I don't know what it is...but I'm completely ADDICTED.

FAGE Total 2% (lowfat) yogurt comes in many flavors, but my favorite ones are:


For those of you who prefer nonfat yogurt, there is FAGE Total 0%. My favorite flavors are:

Mango Guanabana
Blueberry Acai

Lowfat or doesn't make a difference to me. The flavor is not compromised at all. FAGE seriously has ruined all other yogurts for me. You know when you try something that is so good, you start to compare it to the best you've had. This yogurt totally set the bar. 

FAGE Total 2% - Plain yogurt w/ blueberry
The container separates the yogurt from the fruit

When I first tried this yogurt a few weeks ago I took my first bite, and said out loud, "Are you serious!!" I couldn't believe how good it was. I looked down at the container and read that it was pronounced Fa-yeh! I thought to myself...its more like F*#@ Yeah!!! I'm happy camper. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Olive & Thyme Part Deux

Olive & Thyme
4013 Riverside Dr
BurbankCA 91505
(818) 557-1560

My husband and I decided to stay in the local area the other night, and ended up going to Olive & Thyme for dinner. I've been wanting to come here since my first visit last month. I remember seeing that they had a Braised Short Rib sandwich on the menu, and eating that was definitely my goal for the night. 

My husband and I arrived one hour before closing and it was pretty busy. I was happy to see that they were doing well. We ordered two Braised short rib sandwiches and two beers. My husband took a seat at the communal wooden table and waited for our food to come while I browsed around and looked at all the goodies. Before our dinner had even arrived, I had already purchased two tubs of marcona almonds, a jar of Tutto Calabria, and two Salted Caramel Budinos. I'm telling's hard to leave this place empty handed. 

Braised Short Rib Sandwich $13
with horseradish crème fraiche & caramelized onion on country sourdough

If you love Braised Short Ribs, this sandwich is a "must try"! It is just so tender and juicy, and the horseradish creme fraiche is perfect. It definitely opens up your sinuses but its not overwhelming at all. I love this sandwich so much that I doubt I will be able to order anything else the next time I come here to eat something. As much as I like to try new things, I am very loyal once you have won my heart...and this sandwich did just that.

Another shot of the Brasied Short Rib Sandwich
Hofbrau Original $5
This was my beer. It was nice and light. It kind of reminded me of a Stella. 

Erdinger Champ $6 (or it could have been $8 - I don't remember)
My husband got this wheat beer. It was a German Hefeweizen. It would have been nice to have an orange slice with this beer, but he enjoyed it as is.  

Salted Caramel Budino $8
This was also another thing that I will make sure to get every time I visit O&T. Budino is basically pudding, and this is a damn good one. I have a slight fixation with salted caramel. Salty and Sweet is my favorite combination. You have to try it to understand. 

My Experience @ The Bazaar

The Bazaar
SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills
465 S. La Cienega Blvd. 
Los Angeles, CA 90048

There is a restaurant in Spain called El Bulli that is helmed by Chef Ferran Adrià. He is well known for creating culinary foam and often referred to as the founder of molecular gastronomy. I've been dreaming of going there to experience molecular gastronomy at its finest. Unfortunately Spain is a bit out of reach, and even if I did go, it would be very difficult to get a reservation. They are only open 6 months out of the year, and is booked well over a year in advance (sometimes longer). In January, I read that El Bulli will be closing it's doors for 2 years (opening back in 2014). I'm not quite sure what Chef Adrià has up his sleeves, but I'm positive it will be nothing short of genius. 

My curiosity of molecular gastronomy does not stop at El Bulli. When I heard that Chef José Andrés (he trained under Chef Ferran Adrià at El Bulli) was opening The Bazaar, I was excited to finally get a chance to experience something completely new. I'm not sure why it took me sooooo long (over 2 years since it opened) to eat at The Bazaar. I think it was partly because I was waiting for a special occasion and I assumed that it would be really expensive. 

Anyhow, the opportunity finally presented itself when my sister and one of our closest friends decided to meet for dinner. It had been over a year since my sister and I had seen her, so we were all excited. Luckily they were both up for a "dining experience" and this special occasion was marked by a reservation at The Bazaar. I was so happy to be able to cross this restaurant off my list. 

The great thing about taking pictures is the ability to capture moments that you can look back at a later time and be reminded of how you felt at a particular moment. Here is a look into my dining experience at  The Bazaar.
Bellini ($16) Fresh Peach Juice,  a very cute Japanese peach and sparkling wine
We all started off our night with a bellini which tasted absolutely wonderful. It's exactly what I needed after a long day at work. There was a small little Japanese peach inside which was definitely a treat when you reached the bottom of the glass. We had a few of these. 
Japanese peach inside bellini
This is the peach inside the bellini. It had a wonderful sweetness to it, and was especially good after soaking in the sparking wine.
Apple "Nigiri" ($13) Yellowtail, compressed apples. ginger foam, shiso and lemon
Whenever I order raw fish, yellowtail is always one of my choices; however, I wasn't a fan of this dish. I loved all of the components separately, but in my opinion, it didn't work well together.  It wasn't the best way to start off the meal that I had been looking forward to for so long, but the dishes that followed made up for it.
Mussels with olive oil, vinegar, and pimenton ($8)
I'm really a big on seafood, so I was excited to try this. I loved the presentation of the canning, but I think the olive oil drowned the mussels in this dish. I would have opted to get the sea urchin, but unfortunately due to the tragedy in Japan, it was not available at the time.
Sea scallops w./ Romesco Sauce ($14)
Now we're talking!!! This was the first dish that made me smile. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the romesco sauce was the perfect pair.
Cotton candy Foie Gras ($5 each)
I love love love Foie Gras. I've had it prepared in so many different ways, but never would I have imagined it being paired with cotton candy. The interplay of sweet and savory was well executed, and I really appreciated this dish. I haven't been able to stop thinking about this dish since I tried it, and will probably continue to think about it until I have it again.
Not your everday Caprese ($12) Cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella, pesto, and fresh basil
Pure genius. This is definitely "not your everyday Caprese". It was AMAZING. This is the reason why I came to The experience something completely out of the ordinary. Chef Andrés takes the most simple dishes, dissects the natural components, and creates a complete masterpiece. The combination of the skinned cherry tomatoes, pesto, and liquid mozzarella was like a party in your mouth. The flavor was spot on. It seriously is the best Caprese salad I have ever eaten.  The next time I dine at The Bazaar, I will be ordering this dish for myself. There will be no sharing.
American caviar cone ($9 each)
This was delicious. It was served in a wafer thin cone that had a touch of creamy creme fraiche underneath the roe. I can't wait to go back and try the bagel and lox cone.
Philly Cheesesteak ($8 each) Air bread, Cheddar, and Waygu Beef
This was another highlight of the night. This is the most sophisticated Philly Cheesesteak that I have ever had. The air bread was hollow. It pretty much crumbled when you bit into it, and what you find inside is white melted cheddar that goes perfectly with the waygu beef. I could have eaten five of these on my own.
Sauteed shrimp ($14) Shrimp with garlic and guindilla pepper
This dish was pretty solid. The shrimp was cooked perfectly and the chili had a good kick to it. My only regret is that I didn't ask for bread to sop up the sauce. Yum!
Speciality Drink served table side
My sister saw the people dining next to us have a drink prepared table side, so she decided to have one of her own. The liquid nitrogen that was used created all that smoke. It was really cool to watch. 
Caipirinha ($20) Brazilian cachaca, fresh lime and sugar frozen by using Liquid Nitrogen
This was the finished product. The liquid nitrogen turned the alcohol into a smooth slushy consistency. It was quite delicious, and refreshing.
Braised Waygu Beef Cheeks ($18) California Citrus
Waygu beef is known for its marbling characteristics which makes for a very rich flavor and tender texture. While this dish was definitely tender, I wasn't in awe with the taste. It wasn't as good as I had expected it to be. I'm a red meat eater, so next next I will definitely try Beef Hanger Steak. After dinner, our waiter asked us if we wanted anything else. We mentioned that we wanted to try their desserts, and he told us that they would set a table for us. A few minutes late, we were escorted to the Patisserie. Wow! Now that's what you call service.
Salted Chocolate Caramel with Edible Paper ($3 each)
This was delicious. It was a bit much for $3 a pop, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Red Velvet Cupcake ($6)
I'm not a fan of red velvet anything. I went though a phase in my life where I was in search of the best red velvet cupcakes and ate way too many for my own good. Naturally,  I got so sick of it and never ate another one. Since there were three of us, we each picked a dessert, and my friend picked the red velvet. It was surprisingly delicious. The cream cheese frosting on top was good, and the cupcake reminded me of a filipino dessert called "puto". I can't believe I'm saying this, but I would definitely order this again. I could have sworn that I wrote off red velvet a long time ago, but I was clearly mistaken. =)
Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta ($12) Served with Apricots and Muscat gelatin
I was recently introduced to Greek Yogurt, and have been addicted to it every since. I've been eating it for breakfast for the past 3 weeks. It's just that good. Anyways, every time I see Panna Cotta on a dessert menu, I always order it. I'm a sucker for it, so you could only imagine how happy I was to see Greek Yogurt and Panna Cotta together as one. I really enjoyed the tanginess of this dessert. The apricots and muscat gelatin was a nice touch.
Another look at the Greek yogurt panna cotta

Nitro Coconut Floating Island ($12) Passion fruit and vanilla
This was an interesting dessert. I'm digging the whole nitrogen thing. This was basically coconut ice cream that was frozen with nitrogen which made the outside look hardened. When you break it open, it was soft and fluffy inside. The caramelized bananas, and passion fruit puree combined with the airy coconut worked well together. It was a good ending to our dinner. 
Overall, I was very happy with this experience. There were definitely some dishes that stood out more than others. I would highly recommend the cotton candy foie gras, not your everyday caprese, philly cheesesteak, and the nitro floating island for that OH MY GOD experience. It's definitely out of the ordinary. I thought that the meal would be a lot more expensive than it ended up being, but I thought the price was definitely reasonable. I don't mind spending money on good food, especially on things I've never tried before. This was definitely one experience I will never forget.