Tag Archives: dinner

Craving Chocboard

7 May

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When we’re in another country, isn’t it common to, at some point, crave food that isn’t typically served in all of the restaurants around town? In Manila, after having Filipino food almost every meal, I finally had the opportunity to go to Chocboard, which I had been hearing so much about. Just a block away from SM Manila Mall, in Ermita, Chocboard offers a variety of vegetarian meal options, refreshing beverages, and tasty treats. It’s a new trendy and hip cafe and bakery that breaks the mold of the run of the mill places to eat in town with cool music playing, wi-fi, and an ambiance that invites us in, and makes us not want to leave. I had tried both of the pastas on the menu, one with tomato sauce and one with white sauce, both served with yummy garlic bread. Chocboard also serves the best orange juice I think I’ve ever had. I must have ordered three glasses throughout the evening, it was that good. If it wasn’t for being being half way around the world from home, I would definitely be a regular Chocboard.

Craving Golden Deli

23 Apr

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Sometimes, doesn’t a bowl of Pho sound soooo gooood? Pho, when pronounced correctly actually sounds like “fuh” and not “fo,” is a Vietnamese dish consisting of noodles, herbs, and a variety of ingredients to chose from in a broth. I jumped at the opportunity to meet for Pho with Marshall, Face, and Jax at Golden Deli in San Gabriel, which has the best Pho that I’ve had so far in SoCal. Every time I’ve gone this restaurant, is always packed. I’ll have to say it’s got to be the great, authentic Vietnamese food and not so much the customer service that keeps the restaurant’s tables full and it’s seats warm while, regardless of the temperature outside, the air conditioner is always set to “frigid.” I guess it makes sense since it’s usually on a cold or foggy day that I crave getting pho. I ordered my usually fresh shrimp spring rolls and in addition to the peanut sauce, I requested the nuoc mam, which is a mixed fish dipping sauce that when mixed with a little bit of red chili paste and tastes great with the spring rolls. I ordered a bowl of pho with shrimp and fish balls and added a few mint leaves, bean sprouts, fresh lime juice, and peppers, and prepped my little dish with Hoisin sauce and Sriracha to add as a topping to flavor the pho. While a bowl of pho sounds soooo gooood, eating it is actually better.

A Girl’s Night Of Craves & Savors

2 Apr

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Don’t girls just wanna have fun? If fun means eating good food with the most entertaining company possible, than we definitely had a ton! It was a girls rule, boys drool night, but I have to admit I did a little bit of drooling… over some good eats at Baco Mercat and Syrup Desserts in downtown Los Angeles, where I ate with my girls Face, Jax, and Di. Normally a completely booked restaurant, we tried our luck and walked in into Baco without reservations. We put our name on the wait list and were told we would have to wait 45 minutes for a table. After a pointless 10 minute walk to get some tea before dinner and just as we walked into Syrup to order something, the restaurant texted that our table was ready… It may have been a blessing in disguise because while looking at Syrup’s menu, we were all on the verge of ruining our appetites (if that’s even possible), but we vowed that we would return after dinner.

At Baco, we ordered and ate the modern Spanish tapas that we’ve heard so much about. We ate family-style and shared the “caesar” brussels sprouts, squash blossoms, spaghetti squash with corn puree, the “double mushroom” Coca, which is a flatbread that Baco is known for, and my favorite of the night, the hamachi crudo. While the food was great, Jax commented that with all of the hype she’d heard, she expected “a miracle” in her mouth. Well, what I found that most of the magic happened at Syrup Desserts, which is an expresso bar and dessert cafe that offers a variety of pastries, signature iced teas, famous waffles, and more. We were super anxious to get back to Syrup and when we returned after dinner, we ordered two of the Syrup Signature Belgian Waffles, which is also a Syrup favorite, which has strawberries, bananas, Nutella, and French Vanilla Bean Ice cream (one without bananas), the Dulce & Banana Belgian Waffle, which as bananas and blackberries, caramel sauce, Vanilla sauce and instead of the Dulce de Leche ice cream, we substituted for the Blackberry Jasmine ice cream, and the Banana with chocolate chip Sweet Liege Original. We definitely savored our desserts there and time spent together.

Since it was such an awesome night to savor, full of cravings and QT, we agreed that “Girls Night” will be implemented on a regular basis, preferably and at least monthly. Any suggestions?

Craving & Savoring A Home-Cooked Meal From The Heart

27 Mar

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Sometimes, doesn’t love seem to find it’s way into our hearts through our stomachs? After a day of work, going to language class, then Bikram yoga, just when I thought I’ll probably just make a juice or something quick before bed, my bf made us dinner. Earlier in the evening, when I was out, Peter from a food service that we usually order from, Personal Gourmet, paid us a visit and my bf was able to purchase enough food to fill the freezer in the garage for our dinners and the occasional impromptu BBQs. My bf, Mr. Grill Master Flex, made crave worthy lobster tails, stuffed sole fillets stuffed with scallops and crabmeat, with a side of sweet butter corn. The first thing my bf learned about me is that I love good food, and without food, I almost fade to the point of no longer being functional. Dinner was made with a lot of love, and I was able to share it with the guy I love. Some of the simplest joys are the sweetest moments to savor, and this was one of them.

Craving Khan Toke Thai House

24 Mar

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Since when did San Francisco streets get so busy to the point where it takes half an hour to find parking on Geary Blvd? I’ve been asking every one who lives in the City who still lives here because I either forgot how long it takes to get somewhere or find parking, I’m overly optimistic in what can be done in a certain amount of time, or SF has become increasingly more crowded and congested. Maybe it’s a combination of all three… I made reservations at 7pm at Khan Toke Thai House, one of my favorite Thai restaurants of all time. My brother introduced me to this authentic Thai restaurant years ago, where the ambiance and service is as memorable as the food. Like most every other plan I made this weekend, I make a time recommendation and I’m the one who ends up running late. I called to push the dinner reservations I had with my family to 730pm, but by the time I finally parked and walked in the door, it was 8pm. Luckily, the restaurant wasn’t packed and reservations were probably not necessary. Not very many people know about this somewhat hidden gem; from the outside, Khan Toke doesn’t really look like much. As soon as we walk in, the decor and set up makes us feel like we’re in a home. An attendant, dressed in traditional Thai attire (just as all of the serving staff), at the door takes our shoes (so it’s best to wear socks) and we’re shown to our table in one of the several sections of the restaurant . The tables are low to the floor and it appears as though we’re all sitting on the floor, but there is a space cut out underneath the table for normal, comfortable seating.

I was craving a Thai tea, which I drank almost all of before dinner came. My mom, dad, brother, nephew, and I ordered family style, although with not every one had everything due to dietary restrictions and food allergies. We started off with the Sa-Te: beef and chicken charbroiled skewers served with peanut sauce and cucumber salad, Paw Pear Tod: deep-fried spring rolls stuffed with tofu, silver noodles, and vegetables served with sweet and sour sauce, Tom Yum: Spicy and sour lemongrass soup with mushrooms, tomatoes, cilantro and tofu Som Tum: shredded green papaya salad with carrots, tomatoes, green beans and ground peanuts, and Young Lady Salad: Green salad with grilled tender beef mixed in lime dressing, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes. For the main course, we had the Mus-A-Mun: Beef in red curry, peanuts, onions, sweet potatoes and coconut milk, Gaeng Ga Ree: Yellow-curry, sweet potatoes, vegetables, tofu, and coconut milk, Broccoli Gra Tiam: Broccoli sauteed with fresh garlic sauce, Pad Siew: Wide rice noodles sauteed in a dark soy with broccoli and egg, Pad Thai: stir-fried rice stick noodles with ground peanuts, tofu, bean sprouts, egg, and prawns, and side orders of brown rice. For dessert we had the Mango with Sticky Rice.

The food at Kahn Toke never fails to please and was just as good as I remembered it. That sentiment was validated when my 10- year-old nephew, whose severe food allergies (to fish and nuts to name a few) has lead him to become somewhat of a finicky eater, commented on how much he enjoyed his dinner. I guess driving around for parking on Geary Blvd was all worth it, but I guess the optimism should remain focused on cravings satisfaction and not really on any parking gods to bestow divine intervention on saving on lot fees (or prevention from walking several blocks in the chilly nights of San Francisco to pay those fees…. if, and only if, you actually made it to an open lot).

Craving & Savoring My Dinner Date With Rache

23 Mar

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Isn’t it counterproductive for a server stop us from ordering food? I can never understand when placing an order, servers always say “Ok, I think that’s just too much food.” It happens way too often… I had a dinner date with one of my favorite persons in the whole world, Rache, and made reservations to The House. I tried to look up Asia de Cuba’s phone number on my iPhone, but discovered that it was closed; however, the search engine took me to The House, an Asian Fusion restaurant with really great reviews. I was late to our reservation (damn Aritzia, bad time management, and difficulty getting a cab in Union Square San Francisco; note to self, gotta work on the first two pronto!), but luckily Rache is very forgiving and there was already a small plate of sweet pickled cucumbers on the table. To share, we ordered three of the specials that weren’t on the menu, the yellow tail sashimi with salsa, the seared scallops, and clams in curry sauce. From the Menu, we also ordered the white shrimp and chinese chive dumplings, and two entrees: the mushroom rice with grilled prawns topped with shaved bonito and the grilled sea bass with garlic ginger soy that comes with green beans and garlic noodles. We had to convince the server that we were going to finish what we ordered and her response was “Well, all I’ll have to do is pack everything up when you can’t eat any more.” The food was delicious! To the server’s surprise, there was nothing to pack. Never judge a girl’s appetite by the size of her stomach. Looks can be deceiving.

Dinner didn’t give us enough time to catch up and hang out, so we walked down Columbus and passed by all of the busy Italian eateries and friendly shop owners and keepers trying to promote some patronage to their establishments. We ended up at Caffe Greco for some Black Tea and I had an Italian dessert, a Strawberry Bambino.

The night was awesome, I was able to savor a great night with all that I was craving – good food, and more importantly, time with Rache. What I treat!

Craving Robata Jinya

18 Mar

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Has a server ever taken an order and asked if what we’re ordering is for the whole table when in fact it isn’t? Well, I guess that’s what happens when you put us in front of a menu from Robata Jinya, where my bf and I ended up ordering twice as many things than the two couples we had dinner with combined. Thanks to our Yelping friends and fellow food lovers, Marshall and Face, it has been proven, yet again, that a 4 stars or over rating on Yelp (with a significant number of reviewers of course) never fails. Despite not being a fan of driving through West Los Angeles traffic, the trek over the westside was well worth it for the good food and of course the good company. From the Robata-Yaki menu, I tried the Cherry Tomatoes, Shishito Peppers, Chilean Seabass, Maitake Mushrooms, and Eggplant. I tried the Yellowtail Sashimi Japapeno Citrus Soy from the list of Sashimi, the Jinya Mixed Green Salad, the Spicy Creamy Shrimp Tempura, and the Butter Lettuce Cup with Miso Black Cod from the list of Tapas, and the Crunch Roll and Baked Crab Roll (that we ordered again after finishing the first one) from the list of Roll Sushi. We also ordered the Shrimp Toast from the list of Specials after trying a bite from our friends’ order. If all of that didn’t sound like a lot of food, we also had Ramen, Japanese noodles in broth, which is what the restaurant is known for. I had the Vegetable Pottage Ramen: thick soups with mushed vegetables carrots, potatoes, onions, Soy beans, baby leaf, and I added all of the toppings: JIDORI Ni-Tamago (Free Cage Soft Cooked Egg), NORI Dried Seaweed, and Mushrooms. The Vegetable Ramen also happens to be the only type of Ramen that can’t be ordered in a half size; however, it turned out I didn’t need the half order since I finished the noodles. Maybe next time, we’ll save some room to try something from the list of Desserts, and there will definitely be a next time. Domo Arigato Mr. Robata (Jinya)!

Savoring Dinner, Drinks & Dancing Downtown

17 Mar

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What do we wear to a birthday celebration of an Irish guy? Green, of course. To celebrate the big B-day of one of the nicest guys any one could ever be so special to know, Ste, we all dressed in a green theme (last weekend, so not to get confused with St. Patty’s Day). We met for dinner at Soi 7, a Modern Thai Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. I tried the Green Papaya Salad, Fried Calamari, Grilled Shrimp Summer Roll, Shrimp and Crab Pad Thai, Green Beans stir-fried with Thai chili paste, and Green Curry Scallops with rice. For dessert I had the Banana Samosas with coconut ice cream and they were delicious! After dinner, we walked over to Bar 107 that has a sign out front that says “Heileman’s Old Style Ollie’s Sport Shop” (which is very confusing). Just as we walked in, “Walking On A Dream” by Empire of the Sun was playing and the tunes stayed consistently danceable as we two-stepped, hair-tossed, and shook our booties on the dance floor, which got super packed along with the rest of the bar as the night went on. Speaking of packed, there is a old style photo booth in the back dance area that doesn’t quite fit four, but we packed in nonetheless. We all had a great time dancing, getting drinks, and enjoying each other’s company, but like the dance floor and the photo booth, the bar got a little too crowded for comfort, so we headed to Jax and the B-day boy’s pad where we played a little game of truth or dare. As I was the only one who chose a dare, the night continued on the trend of packing in small spaces and I ended up in the dog house… literally.

Craving Katsu-Ya in Studio City

18 Feb

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What’s the best Japanese restaurant in the Los Angeles Area? I’d have to say Katsu-ya, the “original,” in Studio City. The best time to go to this restaurant is right when it opens, otherwise, be ready for a long wait. Known for their specialty rolls and chalkboard specials, the food served at Katsu-Ya is always consistently fresh and satisfying. In addition to the Shishito Peppers, House Salad, and Agedashi Tofu starters, we tried one of the chalkboards specials: The Garlic Albacore with Crispy Spinach and Onions, which was so good we ordered another special, but made with Blue Fin Tuna instead of albacore. We also had some of the must-haves: Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna, Yellowtail Sashimi with Japaleno, Creamy Popcorn Shrimp Tempura, and Baked Crab Roll on Soy Paper. Although the other SBE Katsuya restaurants have trendier atmospheres and offer an array of specialty cocktails, patron would have to agree that nothings beats chef Katsuya’s original sushi creations.

Craving For, Raving About, and Savoring My Favorite Restaurant Giorgio Baldi

15 Feb

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If there was one last meal you could have before leaving this world, what would it be? It’s a silly hypothetical question that we would never likely have to answer. Still, last night when my boyfriend took me to Giorgio Baldi, my favorite restaurant in the whole world, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I posed this question and responded with my answer. I told him if I knew I were to die tomorrow, I could probably be ok going after having what I ordered for dinner. Not a very romantic statement to make, but I sincerely meant it because I ate like I wasn’t going to see the next day. Off of the Pacific Coast Highway on 114 W. Channel Rd in Santa Monica, this little Italian restaurant that seats about 60 people at capacity has people packed to the max to be served food that is simply out of this world good. We each ordered the Mista salad: Butter lettuce, radicchio, carrots, and tomatoes in a red wine vinaigrette and we shared the Clams, Langostines, and Agnolotti: homemade ravioli filled with sweet white corn in a white truffle sauce. I dream about this ravioli, it’s the best, I love it so much that I get butterflies in my stomach in nervous and anxious anticipation of having it. I had one order as an appetizer, one order with my main course, the Dover Sole with spinach and potatoes, and another order before my dessert. I call them “crack ravioli;” I have become a fiend for them. For dessert, we had the Butterscotch pudding, which I die for.

The first time I had this pudding was an unforgettable and funny story, which will always have me order this dessert before we even get seated at a table. A few years ago when eating at GB for by birthday, there was a table behind us with three men who were all eating something out of this tiny glass, all just going at it with spoons in hand, they all stopped talking; I had never seen anything like it. I mentioned that I just had to have what they were having. Keep in mind, GB is tiny, so the people at the neighboring tables can hear your entire dinner conversation; it’s unavoidable, the tables are so close. The men heard what I mentioned and then offered to share theirs with me. Pulcone (my favorite server, the entire staff; however, is is very sweet) then took a spoonful from their dessert and offered it to me. I told him that I couldn’t accept a bite from their pudding and I would just order my own. To my disappointment, they were sold out. Considering the restaurant’s clientele, of course there was a good reason why three men in a restaurant were all eating out of one cup, they were having the last one. Or so I thought… Pulcone then took a spoonful out of the very last pudding in the restaurant that the men had paid for to-go and had already wrapped in a doggie bag, so I was obligated to try it. That spoonful was heaven and every time I order it, I think of that night. We offered to pay for the dessert, but it was actually for the wife of one of those men and had already been paid for. Poor woman will probably always wonder why a bite was missing from her butterscotch pudding; however, GB no longer allows any one to take the cups home or take this dessert to go (cup shortage issue).

Thank you Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi, you are my favorite! I crave, I rave about, I savor you forever!