Category Archives: Restaurants

Le Saigon

As a youngster growing up in Tulsa, my family would frequently dine at a stellar Vietnamese restaurant called Ri-Le’s.  In my humble opinion, it’s one of the best places to eat if you ever find yourself in my hometown.  But now that I live 1,500 miles from Ri-Le’s, I need to get my Vietnamese cuisine fix somewhere else.  And thanks to our good friend Ashley, I’ve found that place!

When Ashley invited us to Le Saigon in West LA last weekend, I jumped at the opportunity.  This place is great!  Located at 11611 Santa Monica Blvd, the restaurant is a quaint, laid-back place with an exceptionally friendly staff.  On a Friday night, we only had to wait about ten minutes for a table and while sitting outside, one of the waiters was nice enough to bring us menus and provided us with some helpful suggestions.  Bonus points right there considering most waiters in this town care more about their next casting call than their customers.  I also noticed that he held the door for every single patron!  It’s the little things people, remember that.

Now for the food.  Considering this was my first visit, I can’t speak for the entire menu but I can vouch for the #11 (Com Saigon Dac Biet: Rice with Charbroiled Pork Chop (Pork, Beef or Chicken), Shrimp and Imperial Roll).  I chose to go with the beef and my belly was thankful for that decision.  Also, when it comes to the Imperial Roll, I suggest the pork.  It gives you the best of both worlds!  And the shrimp skewer was perfectly seasoned.  Lastly, everything tasted very fresh and the chili sauce was an awesome accompaniment for us spicy conasuiers.

Needless to say, I loved my first experience at Le Saigon and will be visiting again soon.  I hope after reading this, you’ll heed my advice and get over there as soon as you get the chance.  Le Saigon is open from 11am-10pm Tues. thru Sat. and 11am-9pm on Sundays. 

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Market City Caffe

Working in downtown Burbank, I am privy to nice strip of restaurants along San Fernando Blvd. I have often walked by Market City Caffe and admired both the decor, the mist machines cooling the outdoor patio and the delicious looking giant breadsticks at the table. 

Turns out, best breadsticks ever. Pair that with rosemary infused olive oil and balsalmic vinegar and you have a prelude to a fine Italian meal. 

For lunch, I had the penne. From the menu: 

Penne al Sugo di Pomodoro e Salsiccia – sweet Italian sausage, pomodoro sauce,
red chili peppers, fresh basil and garlic 

When the waitress described it as spicy, I was skeptical. I am a big fan of spicy and lightly seasoned does not a spicy dish make. However, this pasta had the perfect balance of red chili peppers and pomodoro, which paired great with the sausage and beef sauce.

I shared a carafe of Chardonnay with my friends, and $17 got us each two glasses of wine. Very refreshing lunch, indeed!

Next time I go I plan to check out the DELICIOUS looking antipasto bar. Artichoke hearts, tapenades, bruschetta, oysters… heavenly. You can even add it to an entree for $5.95, but you may not even be able to do it justice along with an entree and breadsticks. 

Go check it out! 

Here is the menu to tempt you. 

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Watch out, Pinkberry!

I adore my tart, yogurty lover Pinkberry as much as the next person, but a brand new yogurt bar in Hermosa Beach may give it a run for its money. 

Lotus Yogurt Bar at first glance looks like yet another Pinkberry rip off with its posh minimalist design, ‘green tea’ and ‘original tart’ offers, but they take a very interesting sales approach. 

Firstly, it is self-serve at 39 cents/ounce. Secondly, it has about a dozen flavors ranging from citrus to the delicious Cookies-and-Cream. Thirdly, you pay by the ounce for both your fro yo AND toppings. 

They offer up an ample choice of toppings which includes berries, kiwi, lycee and many other fruits; Cap’n Crunch, Fruit Loops and granola; finally, the ol’ classics sprinkles, chocolate chips, M&Ms and cookie dough. And that is just about half of them. 

If you are like me, you don’t buy into the 75-cents per six M&Ms method at most fro yo places. Here, the 39 cent/ounce pricing is great for a toppings lover. I got a hearty helping of Cookies-and-Cream fro yo with cookie dough and cookie crumbles for a grand total of $2.03. That’s right. 

So here’s the plan – celebrate summer, go to Hermosa Beach, grab a beer at Patrick Molloy’s and a delicious summer treat at Lotus Yogurt Bar. I will probably see you there. 

Visit their Yelp Page

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Library Alehouse, Santa Monica

One of my favorite places to go within the LA area when it comes to good beer and good food in an energetic atmosphere is Library Alehouse on Main Street, Santa Monica.  We discovered this small yet stylish restaurant and pub about a year ago, and we have witnessed the crowds grow in numbers, flocking to the unique beers, quality food, and laid back (but active) environment.  The Library boasts 29 beers on draft, along with a wine list and a menu ripe with California-style pub food.

We were happy to stop in on Friday night before hitting the bowling lanes nearby, ordering a pitcher of North Coast’s PranQster golden ale for the table.  I got an order of the buffalo wings – the best in town in my opinion.  They serve them drums-only with ample amounts of celery and carrot sticks with a chunky bleu cheese dressing – delicious!  Fletch ordered the alehouse burger (medium rare), with sauteed onions and cheddar cheese.  You have multiple choices for building your burger (i.e. cheeses or meats), so you can be sure to quench your burger craving.  Dana got the Cajun chicken sandwich, which she also claimed was very good.  Honestly, I’ve never had anything here I didn’t like, but it’s tough to break away from either the wings or the burgers which are absolutely mouthwatering.

Go here to check out their website and get yourself excited to experience Library’s glory for yourself.

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Beyond Los Angeles: Santa Fe

 

Hello everyone, 

For those of you who have not treated themselves to a trip to the Southwest, I recommend making time and enjoying a three day weekend in this marvelous city. I travelled there with a friend of mine who is a similar food fanatic and we prepped ourselves for a weekend of overindulgence. Here is a quick breakdown of some of the great places to eat and drink in beautiful Santa Fe, NM! 

Friendly Neighborhood Donkey

RAMADA INN – ALBUQUERQUE (admittedly, not Santa Fe)

Nothing fancy about this place, but they had a continental breakfast that included a chafing dish full of hundreds of cocktail meatballs and a tub of picante sauce. Most bizarre breakfast? Perhaps. 

SANTA FE MOTEL & INN

Firstly, this is a very reasonable place to stay. For about $120 a night, this place includes colorful, fun rooms in addition to a giant menu binder in the lobby and a great continental breakfast. They have a spread that includes breakfast burritos, organic oatmeal with similarly organic maple syrup, bread fresh from the Sage Bakery across the street, and a variety of fruit. I don’t know about everyone else, but I can eat at least a $50 value…. 

KOHNAMI SUSHI RESTAURANT – Friday Dinner Stop #1

Having already planned to eat several times that evening, our first stop was for something lighter. Or at least lighter-ish. The fish here was very fresh, the prices reasonable, and we particularly enjoyed the Spicy Tuna Tempura Roll which consisted of spicy tuna, avocado and cream cheese. 

DEL CHARRO SALOON – Friday Dinner Stop #2 (…and Saturday)

Although the nachos are so good we went back two days in a row, the real draw for this place is the house margarita. For $6 you get an entire SHAKER of this delicious blend. 

COWGIRL – Friday Bar Stop 

After being in the bar for under 2 minutes, I met someone from my home county and got bought a shot by a local for “looking nice.” Made friends with another local, and then another – this city is ripe for socializing. 

ATOMIC CAFE – Friday Dinner Stop #3

One of our new local friends took us to this late night eatery where she enjoyed the fish tacos and we split a pizza. Decent after hours snacks. 

FIVE AND DIME – Daytime Snack Stop

Frito pie. Apparently a Santa Fe classic. Here’s the recipe: you cut open a bag of Fritos, fill with beef chili, throw on some cheese and eat it… out of the bag. It was good, I think, although that may take some heavy justification.

LA FONDA – Saturday Lunch

New. Mexican. Buffet. We practically injured ourselves sampling everything from this amazing spread, my personal favorite being the soups. This place also has the best margarita out of the ones I tasted.

Burro Alley in Santa Fe, NM

 

CAFE PARIS – Sunday “Brunch Dessert”

This cafe felt like something out of the movies. We enjoyed some white wine (they also offer champagne and a good sized wine list), creme brulée and a fruit tart. It has lovely murals on the wall as well as an outside patio. The proprietress was very very nice, and I would recommend this place to anyone. It is located on Burro Alley (above). 

So buy a cheap Southwest Airlines ticket and head over already! There’s eating to be done! 

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Sakura

Saturday night we had dinner at one of our favorite sushi restaurants in LA.  It’s called Sakura (located on Centinella in Culver City) and it’s absolutely amazing.  Their salmon sushi is one of the best I’ve had – especially for the price.  Going to Sakura always seems like a special experience.  There is almost always a long wait to get in – especially on weekends – but it’s totally worth it.  They have chairs and heat lamps outside while you wait, as well as a colorful fish tank inside.  The place is small and has a funky hole-in-the-wall 70s vibe.  On Saturday I literally just ordered a large sake, a miso soup, and six pieces of the salmon sushi.  I can also highly recommend the “Sakura roll.” Their california roll is also tasty as well as affordable.  The staff is friendly, and the ambiance is relaxed.  Definitely a great treat on a weekend evening.

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