Tag Archives: dinner

Craving Arpege

25 Jul

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Where can we find a culinary artist that creates beautiful and insanely delicious masterpieces? In Paris, on Rue de Bourgogne, there is a chef by the name of Alain Passard, who designs picturesque dishes looks as good as they tastes. When my bf and I dined in his restaurant, Arpege (which is not the easiest to make reservations to BTW), Alain Passard came out of the kitchen and said hello, asked where we were from, and asked if we liked vegetables. Of course we liked vegetables, but after having the dinner that was served at Arpege, I am now in love with vegetables. I’ve always heard that Paris is the city of love, and now I’m an official believer because I fell head over heals in love with the incredible and unique recipes at this Parisian restaurant and Arriere-Cuisine that satisfy cravings as well as the visual appetite. AP’s designs and technique have given life to probably the most gorgeous food I’ve ever laid my eyes on and if we think something can’t taste beautiful, well we’re wrong. Either the way AP’s food tasted made the food look better, or the way AP’s food looked made the food taste better, or both, or neither. All I know is that I felt like I was looking at a super model physicist, confused because it never happens… food should never look and taste that good. I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. My bf said that it was the best meal he’s ever had in his life (and this was only 5 dishes in to an over 15 dish meal, not counting the dessert).

Just to make our lives easier, we both had the tasting menu of AP’s specialty and signature cuisines, and I had a glass of their recommended Riesling. The menu included Coquelier, Collection de tomates, Aiguillette de homard bleu nuit acidule au miel nouveau, Fines ravioles potageres multicolores, Turbot de la pointe de Bretegne grille entire au, Robe des champs, Rostisserie, Fomages Bernard Antony, Mille, Sucrereis, and several surprises that I can’t pronounce or repeat even if I wanted to. The only reason I can even list the items on the menu was because the staff gave me one to take home. I tried keeping track of the courses, but after the 10th item, I was already I delirious (with joy and satisfaction); however, even when I thought I could eat no more, I found that I kept clearing my plates. During my meal, I told my bf that Arpege is the true “Happy Meal,” because it can really make a person happy. The funny thing was we actually left with a “gift.” Arpege gifted a souvenir, which was the dinner knife we used during dinner. The staff cleaned it and folded the blade into the handle like a pocket knife. Engraved in the wooden handle is “Arpege 2013.” Although already an unforgettable experience, I now have a remembrance of my Arpege love affair of pure indulgence and bliss.

Craving Passadis Del Pep

23 Jul

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What kind of restaurant doesn’t have a menu? The kind of restaurant that doesn’t need one, which is exactly what Passadis del Pep is. Once we found this hidden gem down an alley and through a little passageway (a passadis in Catalan) in Barcelona, which can be a little hard to find, we were so happy that when we got seated, we didn’t have to order our dinner. Everyday, Passadis Del Pep prepares a new selection of beautifully presented, fresh mariscos (seafood) and whatever is brought to the table is what we get. After receiving a half bottle of cava (local champagne), dishes come straight from the kitchen to the table, as if we were guests in some one’s home. The courses; however, don’t ever seem to end. First, came the clams and sea snails, then the gambas (shrimp) and calamari, and after that a plate of salted shishito peppers. Two different kinds of prawns came next, and then we were warned that after already devouring seven amazing dishes, there was one more course before the main dish. Most people stop there, but we didn’t. We got the rice with squid and then we were asked to choose a main course, “pescado or carne?” I had the fish and my bf had the meat, which came out with a side of potatoes. For dessert, we shared the crème Catalan and chocolate profiteroles. We each had a cup of Café Americano, they brought out a few bottles of chilled dessert wine, which we could pour for ourselves and we were also offered any other alcoholic drink of choice. I could only handle a few sips. Passadis Del Pep was an unforgettable, almost 3 hour, dinner experience. Barcelona saved the best dinner for last, when I thought it couldn’t get any better.

Craving Los Caracoles

22 Jul

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Where do we go when dinner plans don’t go as planned? We try plan B, which turned out to be more than fine by us… In Barcelona, many restaurants are closed on Sundays and Mondays, so a few of the places on top of my food list got crossed off. My bf got a suggestion from a friend back home and we headed about a mile from our hotel to Los Caracoles, which is located in an alley off La Rambla. Outside of the restaurant is a huge wood-fired oven, blazing and sending scents of food through the street, enticing passerby’s to have what their kitchen’s cooking . Right when we walked in, it looked like a tiny bar and restaurant, but after walking past the ovens and chefs, up the stairs, and into the dining area, we were surprised to find that the establishment could seat well over 200 people. We got some great suggestions from the server, who started us off with bread in the shape of a snail with olive oil and vinegar. We ordered most of his suggestions: the verduras salteadas (sauteed vegetables), gambas al ajillo (shrimp fried in garlic), paella de mariscos (seafood “paella”), navajas a la plancha (grilled razor clams, and of course los caracoles especiales (special snails), which we had to try since the name of the restaurant is Los Caracoles (although I could only handle eating 2). For dessert we had pastel de fresas con maracuya (strawberry cake) and crema catalana (“Catalan” cream caramel, which is very similar to creme brulee). The ambiance and decor of the restaurant is as lively and flavorful as the food. Before we finished dinner, we got a nice surprise and got serenaded at our table by a Spanish band. The dinner experience was awesome, and I especially could not get over how tasty the vegetables were; Delicioso! They were the first thing I tried and even if I just had the vegetables, I would have still made up my mind that Los Caracoles beat anything and everything I could have possibly had at any “Plan A” restaurant on my list.

Arola Craves

21 Jul

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What’s a great way to kick off a stay in Barcelona, Spain? Eating great food is always a great start in my opinion, which is exactly my bf and I did on our first night together. Located on the 2nd floor of the Hotel Arts, our home for the next few days, we dined at Catalan chef Segi Arola’s restaurant, which overlooks the ocean, located in front of Frank Gehry’s giant wale. We were given a few complimentary starters and a bread basket, with garlic, tomato, olive oil, and salt. For the bread, we were instructed to cut the garlic clove and tomato in half, rub the garlic on the bread, then do the same with the tomato, add a little olive oil, and a dash of salt, and eat. The bread was delicious, a perfect teaser for the tapas we about going to enjoy. We ordered White Asparagas with mayonnaise, olives from Aragon and sprout, Eggplant flame roasted, with arbeguina olives and pine nuts, Arola’s Patatas Bravas (mmmm, yum), and White Shrimp prepared with garlic. Our server advised of of ordering 4, maybe 5 items to share, but we didn’t stop at 4, we continued to order the Langoustines grilled with truffle vinaigrette, Mussels in brine with vitelotte potato chips, Crab prepared in Wontong pasta ravioli and dashi, and my bf had the Nebraska Beef loin, marinated with Xerez, vinegar and citrics with vegetables and sprouts. All of the tapas were amazing. Our great dinner, which started off our trip, also ended well with dessert or cocina dulce, pumpkin cake, passion fruit, and white chocolate. If this dinner was an indication of what to expect, I can’t wait for more of what else Barcelona has to offer.

Craving Crustacean

2 Jun

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Aren’t there times when we just crave garlic noodles? Last night was one of those times when I was feeling like I needed to satisfy this craving, right before my bf and I decided to make reservations at Crustacean in Beverly Hills. The first thing we noticed inside of the restaurant is a beautiful aquarium to the right of the entrance. Walking through the lounge and into the dining area, we also noticed the glass aquarium underfoot, filled with colorful koi fish. The ambiance in the restaurant is great, but it set the scene for an even greater meal. We started off with the corn with crab soup, the seafood salad, seafood dumplings, and mussels. We shared a side order of the bok choy, and we each had a whole crab and an order of the garlic noodles. The seasoned crab is scrumptious, but what I love about Crustacean is the crab is presented already cracked and peeled, leaving just the meat to be enjoyed without any hassle. Everything we had was so delicious and a plus was having an extremely pleasant and attentive server. I started off with craving garlic noodles, and I ended up with six other must-order-again cravings that I will likely lead me back to Crustacean. I can’t wait!

Craving Lotus of Siam Thai Restaurant

27 May

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What do we do when we go on vacation? Eat! Las Vegas allows for food lovers to indulge in a variety of cuisines and many restaurants are accessible in the many hotels on the strip; however, one restaurant that is off the strip and not in a hotel is Lotus of Siam Thai Restaurant. The food offered at this restaurant has got to be the best Thai food I’ve ever had, and I am positive that any one who loves Thai food and has eaten at Lotus will crave it for the rest of his or her life. The last time I was in Vegas was the first time dining at Lotus, and I could not get it out of my mind. The wait could be long, so we made sure to make reservations ahead of time, especially since were a party of 9. A group of friends and I, especially, were eager for the food that already made best buds with my taste-buds. The menu is extensive, but since most of us have been to Lotus before and since there were a few Vegas locals in the group, who are regulars, we ordered what we knew every one would love. The following were some of the dishes that were ordered that I had been dying to eat: the Som Thum (Papaya Salad), Garlic Shrimp, Nam Kao Tod with no meat (Crispy Rice), Pad Thai with Shrimp, Crab Fried Rice, Yellow Curry with Shrimp, Drunken Noodle Seafood, and Chinese Broccoli in oyster sauce. We all shared the mango with sticky rice and fried banana with ice cream (must order!). Before the trip, I was so excited to get the opportunity to eat at Lotus and was glad that I was able to eat such great food with great friends. My cravings were also glad because they left Lotus happy, happy that they got to visit their best Thai friend, best friend forever!

Craving Botero

27 May

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What is my favorite restaurant in Las Vegas? Botero at the Encore is uh-freakin’-mazing! If I (hypothetically) had to choose only one place to eat dinner all weekend, I’d choose Botero. Last night for dinner, Dreams, Ray, Face, Marshall, my bf and I had a pretty foodgasmic experience. The meal started off with a shrimp tasting sampler, compliments of the chef, and a breadbasket came out with seasoned butter. I had the baby beet salad with warm goat cheese and the table shared a dozen market oysters on the half shell as well as some of the most cravetastic side dishes, the truffle macaroni & cheese, baby artichokes, Botoero fries, and French green beans. Coincidentally, we had the same sever, Daniel, that my bf and I had several times when dining at Botero and he remembered what I usually order, an entree size portion of the steamed Alaskan Crab legs, which are already cracked, cut, and ready for easy (and clean) consumption. Daniel also knocked the oysters off of the bill as well as the most delicious desserts that he picked out for the table: the Lemon Napoleon (lemon pound cake, blueberry ginger compote, lemon curd ice cream), the Milk Chocolate Bon Bon Lollipops (vanilla bean ice cream and hazelnut praline), the S’mores Brioche Doughnuts (toasted marshmallows, chocolate ganache, with dipping sauces), and the lemon and berry sorbets with “Congratulations” spelled out in chocolate fudge because we mentioned that we were in town visiting our friends, Dreams and Ray, and celebrating their pregnancy. I have never had one thing I didn’t like at Botero, and always crave and enjoy having dinner there whenever we’re in town. It would be very difficult for Botero not to be a favorite after a meal like the one I had.

SW Steakhouse Craves and Savors

24 May

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Doesn’t Las Vegas have some of the best fine dining restaurants jam packed in one city? With the amount of visitors that come to Sin City to gamble, shop, and indulge in a variety of adult entertainment, the Hotels and Restaurants make sure that guests are well fed and that any cravings that our hearts desire can be satisfied. My bf and I flew to Vegas today and had dinner with my bestie Dreams and her husband Ray, and I have been dying to see them. I was on the verge of tears this morning thinking about how excited I was this morning to get to spend time with one of my favorite people in the world, Dreams, who recently shared the news that she is pregnant! We needed to have a celebration dinner, and after some deliberation of where to eat (since there are so many options to chose from), we decided on the SW Steakhouse at the Wynn. During the beginning of the busy memorial weekend, many of the dining hot spots were fully committed, but we were able to get reservations at SW, one of the most popular and raved about restaurants at the Wynn. We started off with the Seafood Spectacular, a chilled selection of the ocean’s finest Maine lobster, king crab legs, jumbo shrimp, oysters, and crab cocktail, along with the BigEye Tuna Ceviche, mango-grapefruit salsa, smoked chile, avocado, and sesame crackers, and the Alaskan King Crab Pasta, made with oyster mushrooms, basil, and Meyer lemon sauce. We shared the Black Truffle Creamed Corn, Brussels Sprouts with Carrots, and SW French Fries side dishes. Dreams and I shared the Roasted Scottish Salmon. For Dessert, we had the Funnel Cake and Strawberries with anglaise, salty caramel and fudge sauce (that was presented like a piece of art, with 6 individual funnel cakes draped like flowers on branches), the Warm Dark Chocolate Brownie made with vanilla parfait, caramelized banana, banana ice cream, and drizzled in warn fudge sauce, and vanilla ice cream. Dinner was amazing, but what I savored more from the night was the time I got to spend with people I love, which I have been craving so much more than the food on the table. While tonight, we ate at what some would consider one of the best places to eat in the many fine dining restaurants in Vegas, the people we ate with were what made the night a dinner at SW to crave and savor.

Craving Newport Seafood Restaurant

20 May

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When we’re feeling Hangry (Hungry + Angry), what is a sure bet place to eat to make us feel Fappy (Full + Happy)? I’d put my money on Newport Seafood Restaurant in San Gabriel, which is where my bf and I ate w/ our food soul mates and 3 adopted little sisters (Face’s sisters). We were all Hangry to the max, but unless we were the owner’s friend, a friend of a friend, a VIP, a frequent flyer, a high-roller or what ever title it is that usually gets our names to the top of a list, we had to wait for our number to be called. We saw dishes pass by that looked so good, we were peeking into the dining area to glimpse at all the food that we could order and to see if any tables were filled with Fappy people who were ready to make room for the Hangry ones. It was almost as if we were in Vegas right before before our 21st birthday, waiting for the second we could finally throw the dice down at the craps table. After about a half hour wait, we got seated. We ordered family style and had the clams, fresh cooked shrimp, Newport-style lobster, bean curd with black mushrooms, on choy, crab fried rice, salt and pepper pork chops, and cubed beef. The last two dishes are not pictured. The beef dish was the first thing that came out and was eaten before I even knew what happened to it. The pork dish came out in the middle of a major food devouring session and at that time, my hunger dictated that satisfying my seafood cravings was more important than taking a picture of a pork chop. Coincidentally, both are dishes I don’t eat; however, both dishes were thoroughly enjoyed by every one else just as much as all of the other dishes that were on the table. During the meal the Lazy Susan was spinning around like a roulette wheel, but instead of cashing in on some dough, we were raking in (well, more like scooping up) other riches onto our plates, the richness of amazingly good Chinese food. At the end of the meal, sure enough, we were all Fappy, a feeling which is very similar to feeling like a winner. Winner, winner, lobster dinner!

Craving Haru Sushi Cafe

16 May

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How can we tell when a restaurant is good? When it’s consistently packed, all night long on a random work night, like it was at Haru Sushi Cafe in West Hollywood. I was introduced to this Japanese restaurant by Marshall and Face and all I can say is that is Haru (the chef), you sure know how to makes some great sushi! The three of us shared the Shishito Pepper Saute Appetizer and Haru’s Organic Seaweed & Cucumber Sunomono Style Salad. I ordered the Combination Sashimi Dinner (Chef Haru’s choice of assorted sashimi) from the Sushi Bar with brown rice, served with a green house salad and miso soup and the Lotus Roll. I also tried the Island Roll (shrimp tempura and crab roll covered with salmon and avocado served with soy citrus dressing) and yes, Haru, it was delicious, thank you very much. I was very impressed with the quality of the food served. The sashimi was fresh and the texture was smooth and buttery. We can also tell when a restaurant is good when we know for sure that we’ll be coming back. The sign on the red awning out front of the restaurants reads “Modern Japanese Cuisine,” so it may be easy to miss; however, just as I was introduced to Haru, most good restaurants get introduced by recommendation. So, take it from me, a newly converted Haru Sushi Lover, it’s good!